I had done what was required. I had stepped away and trusted the toilet to it’s duties. I waited...and waited. The flush never came. I walked back up to it and stepped away again. Nothing. I stepped in front of it once more. This time I stared the red laser dot down-thinking that maybe it needed a retina scan. It didn't. I stepped to the side and anxiously waited in vane. Was there something wrong with my waste? Did I not meet the required level? I looked all over the bathroom for the toilet's official manual, but, after literally minutes of searching, I came up empty handed. There was no writing on the shiny white porcelain about the specific level requirements of waste. Logic quickly suggested that there probably were no level requirements to begin with.
So, it must have been me. Something innately wrong with myself. Then, it happened. The how and why are a little vague, but I can not deny the fact that under the watchful red eye of this robot toilet, I began to question my own existence. Up until that point in my life, I had never doubted myself. I had always been confident in who I was and why I was here. But, this toilet-this evil robot toilet-knocked the wind out of me, kicked my legs out from under me, and laughed at how little and insignificant I was (well, metaphorically speaking, anyway). I was left a crumpled mess on the tile floor (literally), gasping for air and wondering what had happened to me. Why didn't this toilet recognize me? I was the same as I'd always been and so many other toilets had acknowledged my existence in the past. Had I changed without knowing? Something besides my appearance perhaps? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? Yes, that was it!
Suddenly, I couldn’t feel the presence of my soul. What could have happened to it? Where did it go? What final straw broke the camel's back of my soul? Sure, there were times I had messed up. But, nothing major enough to warrant a separation without even a goodbye. Had it found someone else? No. It wouldn't do that. It couldn't do that. Could it? After all I had done for it? A million pictures flooded my mind-pictures of my soul in a score of different possible lives. Here it was drinking rum from a coconut, soaking in the rays of the Carribean. Happily dancing through the streets of some Bollywood film. And at the top of Everest, laughing with a band of sherpas at the thought of being atop the world and the world having no idea.
But, of all those pictures, the one that seemed the most heart breaking was that my soul could be alone, cold, and crying in some alley-down on luck, down on hope, and with nowhere else to go. And here I was, cold and crying on a public restroom’s tile floor, recognized by no one-not even a robot toilet programmed to recognize the simplest and most generic trait of a human being.
Why was this happening to me? I felt my finger move involuntarily. It flexed its muscle and extended in a point at the one I held responsible-that evil robot toilet that refused to recognize my human existence! "How dare you," I shouted at the top of my lungs. The arm free of the responsibility of pointing braced the rest of me until I was up from the tile, stable and firm on my two feet. I stared deep into the toilet's eye and let it have it.
"Who do you think you are-that you can just sit there on that wall and decide who's human and who's not-who has a soul and who doesn't? Who's worthy of your flush and who isn't?”
“Who gave you that right?”
“How easy it must be for you to just sit there and cast judgment on everyone whom you meet, you bitter, old, evil robot toilet!”
“You want a soul, but you don't have one. And you'll never have one! So, don't judge me! I will not give you the satisfaction of seeing me crumble anymore!!"
I looked in its eye and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw its porcelain have the nerve to smirk. And I said with the definition of purpose, "You won't laugh at the human race anymore!!!"
I let out a fierce primal scream and charged the toilet. I threw punches and kicks and elbow drops, letting loose with all my might. In my mind, I could see the porcelain shatter and its robotic insides pour out, but in reality, when the haze of my adrenaline rush cleared, I realized that my barrage had only managed a crack. A large sliver of a crack that did not pierce through the porcelain, but remained a most definite scar. Right down the front where the bowl turns to meet the floor.
I backed off for a moment and wiped the sweat from my brow, raised my head and looked into the swollen eye of my rival. And, to this day, I swear I saw that robot toilet wink. It wasn't a facetious wink or even a come-hither wink, but it was exactly the type of wink I was looking for. A wink of recognition. Then, came the sweetly victorious sound of a flush. I nodded in appreciation and turned and walked away. And, whether my soul had left or whether it had only needed a little privacy (perhaps using the stall next to me?), I could feel it with me again.
Glancing in the mirror, I collected myself and headed back out- assured again of my meaning in this crazy world.
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